Monday, October 29, 2007

I fought The Law . . . and The Law won!

Hey Everybody

I just had an amazing conversation with a guy who is opening up a brand spanking new talent agency. Now while nothing has been finalized yet, it looks like he wants to add ME to his roster of talent! Man oh man am I excited!

Let's see now, that would bring the number of agents representing me to . . . drumroll please . . . 1!! That's right, my first agent! HOOOO HAAAA!!!!!

How did I get this agent interested in representing me? I can't be 100% sure, but I firmly believe that the Law of Attraction, A.K.A. "The Secret" had a lot to do with it.

So what the heck is this Law of Attraction stuff about anyway?

Well, unless you've been under a rock for the last several months, there has been quite a lot of hullabaloo about a program called "The Secret". In "The Secret", a long list of prominent people including the likes of best selling authors John Gray (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) and Jack Canfield (The Chicken Soup books), teach about the Law of Attraction and how they've used it in their own lives. The DVDs and Books have become runaway best-sellers and been featured on many talk shows including Larry King Live and Oprah!

A while back, I received some information about a two hour audio program (and full transcript) describing a rather practical approach to learning about the Law of Attraction. This program only costs 7 bucks, heck, I spend more than that on lunch!

So, if you're interested in finding out what The Law Of Attraction is, how it works, and how to get it working in your own life, this may be pretty good place to start.

To get the $7 Law of Attraction Program, click here.

As far as my new agent goes, I am hoping to hear from him very soon so we can finalize the deal. It's my intention that nothing will prevent that from happening (that's LOA stuff), but keep your fingers crossed anyway. I can use all the good vibes I can get.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors

In order to achieve massive success in the voice over business, there are a number things we all need:

1 - Oodles of talent
2 - One or more killer, and I do mean KILLER demos
3 - a killer MARKETING PLAN!

OK, there's probably a bunch more stuff you need, but these 3 items are certainly among the top 10.

Having number 1 and number 2 doesn't mean much if the voiceover buyers out there are oblivious to your existence. That's where the new "Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors" comes in.

Created by the fine folks at, Internet Marketing Plan for Voice Actors is timely and necessary information for all of you who are working diligently to move from voiceover "wanna-be" to voiceover "professional".

The Authors have provided a clear, comprehensive and actionable plan for enhancing your visibility among those critical voiceover service buyers out there.

The plan includes information on Advertising, Internet Marketing, Branding, search engine optimization and even such cutting-edge topics as Social Media Marketing.

I read through this guide from cover to cover and found it to be chock-full of useful information and I think you guys will too. To learn more, please visit

Friday, October 19, 2007

Are you taking care of business?

If we are to succeed in the voice acting business, we must pay just as much, if not more, attention to the "business" part of the equation.

Yeah, there's voice, most of us in this business have one, and yeah, there's acting, most of us are pretty OK in this area too, but the business part, that's where we "creative" types, fall on our faces.

I must confess, I haven't been doing a very good job of keeping track of my business. I have basically been working on the honor system. I do a job, and I wait (and hope) for a check to arrive . . . eventually.

Oh yeah, periodically I might jot down a client name and some dates on a napkin somewhere, but when the checks come in, do I carefully match up my check stubs with my napkins? Am I sure that all my napkins have been paid? Uh . . . not really.

So how do we keep track of the constant, never ending, avalanche of clients that want to send us sacks of cash for our services (man, oh man, talk about wishful thinking!)? Good question, I'm glad you asked.

I just recently learned that Intuit, the makers of Quickbooks, a respected name in accounting software, has made their QuickBooks Simplestart 2008 accounting software available for FREE!

Hey Joe! Did you say FREE??

That's right, FREE. It's not a 30-day trial, it's a full-blown accounting package that you can download and install for free and you can use for as long as you like to keep track of your business.

I am so glad the people at Intuit have done this because frankly, I caught a cold recently and most of my napkins . . . well, that's another story.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I recently did a voiceover job for a local ad agency that I had auditioned for many months ago but never heard from. The guy I'd auditioned for left the company and a new guy took over. He sent me a query to see if I was available to do two 60-second pitch scripts for them.

uh . . . HECK YEAH!

While the money wasn't all that great, this is a new client with the possibility of repeat business, and they prefer that I do the jobs from home!

So I did the job from my tiny home studio and received the following feedback:

It sounds like you have a lot of reflections happening in the space where you recorded these.

CRAP! I need a sound booth!

While I would love, love, love to be able to plunk down a couple grand and have the people at Whisperroom or GK Acoustics send me their top of the line Vocal Booth, the day when I will be able to do that has not yet arrived, so . . .

I cranked up Google and started searching for ways to improve my sound. Since I, like most actors I know, am on a very limited budget, my aim is to produce professional quality sounds, at dollar-store prices.

I start searching for DIY voice-booth designs. There are several available on the internet for free or for a small fee. In addition, if you search through the various VO message boards, you will find many talented, generous people who willingly share what they have done and what has worked for them.

One of the designs I came across during my explorations, was created by a musician named Tim O'Brien. His design is clever, portable and most important, cheap!

Now although Mr. O'Brien is not a voiceover guy, I thought that some of you guys might find his design of interest, so here it is, Tim O'Brien's DIY SoundBooth / SoundWall.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut

A quote from Don LaFontaine: "Devote yourself to the service of the words and you're halfway there."

The Service of the Words. . .

But what if they are the wrong words? Can you still serve them?

Arthur Godfrey read a story on his TV show back in the 1950s titled "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" which when read aloud and with the right emphasis, reveals itself to be the epic tale, "Little Red Riding Hood". Although the words themselves may be wrong, the meaning remains intact if you a) read them aloud, b) emphasize them correctly and c) "Devote yourself to the service of the words".

There is an audio file of "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" on this page which you can listen to. You can find the complete text of the original book "Anguish Languish" by Howard Chace on Kevin Rice's site.

Why don't you try one of these "Furry Tells" as an exercise?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Speaking of Games

D.B. Cooper and Pat Fraley, two of my voiceover heroes, recently made a fabulous presentation at the Game Developers Conference in Austin Texas. This is great stuff folks. Go check it out. You can even download an audio file of their presentation!

What's up in the world of Cartoons?

Many people who go into voiceover secretly desire to get into animation. I mean let's face it folks, are the people who voice "The Simpsons" some of the luckiest actors around or what! Anyway, I recently came across Cartoon Brew which is a fantastic site for people who want to know what's happening in the world of animation. Why not take a look?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Voice acting is hard work

Man oh man did I have a tough day at the office. Well the studio.

I reported to Everest Productions for an ADR session and went into the studio as I've done countless times before ready to give it my acting all.

Everest handles production for EBRU TV, a Turkish TV company in New Jersey. I've been doing ADR work there off and on for over almost two years.

For those of you unfamiliar with ADR or Automatic Dialog Replacement work, that's when you have a movie or TV program that has already been completed but one reason or another, some or all of the dialog of the on-screen actors needs to be replaced. A voiceover actor is hired to record the new and hopefully improved, replacement dialog. Sometimes, they do this to remove cuss words for distribution on regular network TV and such.

The stuff I've been doing is replacing stuff that was originally recorded in one language and has been translated into another language. In this case, it was a Turkish TV show entitled "The Teacher" which we were dubbing into English.

You still with me? OK.

So we get through the first several sets of dubs and all is well. Then my director suddenly realizes that the character I am voicing has some very long, wordy speeches in this episode and the guy who did the script translation did'nt do such a good job matching the translated dialog to the lip-flap.

In ADR work, the dialog and the voiceover actor try to match the lip-flap or mouth movements, of the actor on-screen as perfectly as possible. Otherwise you get that really bad Kung-Fu movie effect where you see the actors lips moving but there are no words coming out or you can hear the actors voice but the on-screen actor's lips don't move until 2 or 3 seconds later.

OK, so now the fun begins.

Most of the speeches this particular character has in the show are approximately the length of the Manhattan yellow pages. Undaunted, my director says to me, "here's what you're going to say". I snatch up my pen and we furiously try to re-write the dialog to better match the lip flaps.

So here are the ingredients for this particularly tasty stew:

Two - episodes that need to be completed tonight in order to meet the scheduled deadlines.

One - actor who never took a class in speed-writing or stenography. My handwriting is at best chicken scratch and at worst heiroglyphics.

One - director / recording engineer who has had a long day and is short on patience.

One - gaggle of kids running around the office, just outside the studio door, due to a Turkish Holiday!

Yummy Yum Yum!!

Needless to say, we got through it and while there were a few cuts and bruises, nobody got seriously injured . . . not even the kids.

If anybody ever tells you that voiceover work is easy, tell him he clearly doesn't know what he's talking about.